* Yet another big loss for the governor’s legal team…
A state appeals court has ruled that Gov. Rod Blagojevich must provide the Better Government Association with copies of the subpoenas his administration received from federal investigators.
The decision by the Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District, handed down in Springfield on Wednesday, affirmed a lower court’s ruling.
That ruling said Blagojevich couldn’t refuse to comply with freedom of information requests from the BGA for the subpoenas.
Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the administration has been honoring a request by the office of U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald to not release the subpoenas.
“With this decision, we will consult with the U.S. attorney on what to do next,” Guerrero said.
The governor’s office can appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Fitzgerald’s office will not comment on subpoenas.
Don Craven, the association’s attorney, said he will ask the trial court to allow the subpoenas to be released immediately because the Appellate Court decision left “absolutely no wiggle room for the governor.”
* If you read the decision, you’ll see that the appellate justices don’t believe that the governor has a single legal leg to stand on. Every argument was turned away.
For instance, the governor’s own legal team admitted that private citizens can disclose grand jury subpoenas of themselves. The court writes…
…under federal law, a private citizen has the discretion to reveal the subpoena, and if he chooses to do so, he will not suffer the wrath of the federal court’s contempt powers or be subject to any federal charges.
So, if private citizens can do it, the governor has no excuse. Also, the state’s Freedom of Information Act “eliminates such discretion from the recipient of a federal grand jury subpoena if that recipient is a public official subject to FOIA’s requirements,” the justices wrote.
…Congress has not seen fit to specifically restrict the behavior of the subpoena recipients.
* On and on it goes, whacking the guv at every turn. My favorite passage…
If the United States Attorney really believed that the Governor’s disclosing of the federal grand jury subpoenas would somehow have interfered with the federal grand jury investigation, the United States Attorney could have appeared in this litigation to make known and defend the federal grand jury’s interests just as it did in Brady-Lunny v. Massey…
Excellent point. Read the whole thing.